Tyrrell Hatton comes agonisingly close to repeat his Arnold Palmer Invitational 2020 triumph


Tyrrell Hatton comes agonisingly close to repeat his Arnold Palmer Invitational 2020 triumph but finishes one stroke behind Scottie Scheffler…and there’s more soul-searching to do for Rory McIlroy

  • Tyrrell Hatton carded 69 in the final round to finish second by one stroke
  • Scottie Scheffler won tournament after near-flawless fourth round 
  • Hatton won Arnold Palmer Invitational back in 2020 with incredible display 
  • Rory McIlroy finished tied for 13th despite leading after two rounds 











Tyrrell Hatton came agonisingly close to winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the second time in three years following an astonishing bravura performance at brutal Bay Hill on Sunday.

Out of sorts with his long game for two rounds and seemingly out of contention after a third round 78 left 12 players ahead of him, Hatton showed his resilience with a wonderful bounce-back 69 to post a stiff four under par target.

When he finished there were no fewer than six players either tied on the same score or one stroke ahead of him who still had to play the treacherous closing holes.

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Tyrrell Hatton finished second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday in Orlando

In the end, only Scottie Scheffler finished in front of him, as the American Ryder Cup player nervelessly two putted the final two holes from long range for a one stroke success to follow up his maiden tour victory in Phoenix last month with a far more prestigious title.

Hatton finished tied second with Norwegian Viktor Hovland and American Billy Horschel. Former US Open Champion Gary Woodland eagled the par five 16th to be two ahead of Hatton standing on the 17th tee, only to finish double bogey, bogey.

This was some gritty display from Hatton, in his first tournament since a nasty bone graft operation on his jaw a month ago. The 30 year old from Marlow certainly has something to smile about again, even if he didn’t leave holding the trophy.

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The Englishman has a great feeling for the tournament, which he won back in 2020

Matt Fitzpatrick posted his third top ten finish in three starts in America so far this year with a 73 for tied ninth place, but a gut-wrenching finish with three dropped shots in the last three holes saw Graeme McDowell miss out on one of three spots on offer for the 150th Open at St Andrews in July.

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What a mad weekend this was at Bay Hill. Was it really just a month ago that world number one Jon Rahm was criticising the courses on the PGA Tour for being too easy? 

His peers must have been tempted to form a queue round the block to tell him to keep his thoughts to himself in future.

Scottie Scheffler won the tournament by one stroke ahead of Hatton

Scottie Scheffler won the tournament by one stroke ahead of Hatton 

After the birdie-fest in California in January came the bogey-onslaught at Arnie’s place, with plenty believing the course set-up, with bone-hard greens and vicious collars of rough around them, and further protected by capricious breezes, tip-toed into the realm of being unfair.

‘Funnily enough, I don’t ever remember seeing the course set up like this when Tiger Woods was winning it every year,’ was the caustic verdict of one experienced caddie, who better remain nameless. 

‘Who wants to play on a test like this and then go on to the Players Championship feeling physically and mentally beaten up?’ Paul Casey was lieing in the top six at halfway, only to finish with an 83. ‘There are some days when you just can’t see your way round a golf course,’ the 44 year old told Sportsmail. 

Rory McIlroy led the tournament after two rounds but finished tied for 13th

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Rory McIlroy led the tournament after two rounds but finished tied for 13th

Next to finish was Ian Poulter, digging deep in his quest for world ranking points to trigger an invitation to the Masters but signing for a 77 to make no progress.

When he was done, he put on his wedding ring, his watch and walked silently away. Asked if he had anything to say, he replied:’Negative.’ Given he has a handsome deal with the sponsor Mastercard, it was a wise move.

After following a 76 on Saturday with another, Rory McIlroy must have wondered what on earth happened to the golf course he demolished in 65 strokes on Thursday. He finished in a tie for 13th with his playing partner, G-Mac.

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